Kelsall’s body recovered from Colorado River


Mac Kelsall’s facebook page shows an extreme outdoorsman who loved the challenge of kayaking over waterfalls, skiing, rock climbing and winter camping.

The 19 year old from Avon, Patrick “Mac” Maccormick Kelsall, was reported missing on the morning of Thursday, July 21 in the Gore Canyon near the Applesauce/Fisherman’s Rapids of the Gore Canyon. His friend had found him missing after returning to the campsite after searching for firewood. He continued to look for him throughout the night and reported Kelsall missing at 6:44 a.m.

The Grand County Sheriff’s Office and Grand County Search and Rescue responded immediately. The area was remote and required travel across the Trough Road and Jim Yust’s private property. The area was searched extensively on Thursday and utilized a Flight for Life helicopter to conduct an aerial search.

On Friday, the search team was expanded to include the Summit County Search and Rescue, Summit County Water Rescue, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Vail Mountain Rescue and Bureau of Land Management. There were nearly 50 individuals searching in an official capacity and Lieutenant Dan Mayer estimates that those searching swelled to over 100 when family, friends and others were included.

A search with dogs indicated that Kelsall may have fallen over the edge of a cliff in the dark and went into the Colorado River below. The edge of the cliff may have been disguised by trees along the edge.

Four dogs, from the Summit County Search and Rescue, trained to detect human scent under the water continued to alert searchers that Kelsall was in the eddy with waters reaching depths of over 20 feet. Throughout the weekend, the Sheriff’s department and searchers continued to use the underwater camera equipment provided by Summit County Water Rescue to locate the body in waters with low visibility.

On Sunday, his body was recovered by Summit County Water Rescue’s dive team at 22 feet.

During the search and rescue, Grand County Sheriff Brett Schroetlin had established the office of the Grand County Coroner as base for the search and rescue. Sheriff deputies who were commended throughout the search were Mike Reed and Jim Ellison. Reed and Ellison were instrumental in locating and retrieving Kelsall’s body. Also mentioned in the search efforts were Union Pacific railroad workers who helped to transport searchers to the area.

On Monday, members of the Grand County Search and Rescue and the Grand County Sheriff’s Office escorted 14 of Kelsall’s family members and friends to where the body was recovered for a small memorial and to explain to them what was believed to have happened. The death is assumed to be accidental, but is under investigation.